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Real-time adaptive networked control of rescue robots

Final Report Summary - RABOT (Real-time adaptive networked control of rescue robots)

The RABOT project consisted of 1 EU universities (Bournemouth University (BU)), 1 EU research centre (Romania Academy of Science, Institute De Mechnica Solidelor, (RAS_IMSAR)), 2 Chinese universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and Yanshan University (YSU)) and 1 Chinese research centre (Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Automation (CASIA)). The project aimed to foster new partnerships, in particular with the research institutes in China and to reinforce the existing collaborations. The project had two aims – Science and Technology (S&T) aim and international knowledge transfer aim to create an international consortium in robotics for rescue and recovery operations. The Science and Technology (S&T) aim was to investigate the challenges in the rescue and recovery operations and design/develop a novel autonomous hybrid legged-wheeled robot with a high payload, large force and ability to adapt to uncertain environments. The knowledge transfer aim was to create a long term, sustainable and strategic partnership so as to reinforce theoretical, technical and practical skills of researchers from both EU and China in robotics. The EU partners who are good at computational intelligence, modelling, control, 3D virtual simulation, and software development will learn experimental skills in the world-class robotics research labs in China, while the Chinese partners who are good at hardware developments and mechatronics design will learn research methodologies and cultures at the EU partners’ labs. Therefore the proposed project was expected to provide solid foundations to create long term research collaboration.

The project team has produced a number of tangible results. The examples are: 1) The SJTU team demonstrated the small elephant robot, where the legs were implemented using parallel mechanism and the hydraulic quadruped robot is designed to perform rescue tasks for disasters, e.g. the earthquake and nuclear plants, and the elephant robot has the direct linkage with the RABOT project; 2) The BU team developed a capsule robot which can be used in disaster discovering and enhancing the RABOT platform, also developed wearable devices such as wearable sensors, wearable robots and wearable networks; 3)The RA_IMSAR team developed a versatile, intelligent and portable robot (VIPRO) platform, for modelling mechanical structure of the rescuing robot RABOT, last generation of the NAO robot and other mobile robots and developing intelligent control interfaces that use advanced control technologies adapted to the robot environment such as extended control (Extenics), neutrosophic control, human adaptive mechatronics, etc., including an e-learning platform, that will allow the development of an inter-academic network for researching and developing new intelligent rescue robots; 4) The CASIA team investigated the sensing and control of the robot which allows advanced performance for human manipulation; 5) The YSU team developed a four-leg wheel chair which is able to climb upstairs; 6) the consortium members have produced over 90 publications in journal and conference formats, submitted 4 patents, received 5 awards.

The RABOT project facilitated 77 mobility visits conducted by the project members (http://fusion-edu.eu/RABOT/?page_id=88) during the life time of the project. In total, the RABOT project organised the following nine workshops (http://fusion-edu.eu/RABOT/?page_id=34) at the partners’ site: 1) 10-11 January 2013 at SJTU, China; 2) 31 August – 1 September 2013 at CASIA, China; 3) 5 – 6 January 2014 at YSU, China; 4) 9-11 July 2014 at UK; 5) 21 August 2014 at CASIA, China; 6) 3 - 4 June 2015 at YSU, China; 7) 24 -25 August 2015 at CASIA, China; 8) 6 January 2016 at CASIA, China; 9) 11 June 2016 at YSU, China. At each workshop, the participated partners presented their latest work and discussed the further work, plan and sustainable strategies. For example, the project kick-off meeting chaired by the RABOT coordinator was hosted at SJTU during 10-11 January 2013 and the project coordinator from another IRSES project (ECRoboot) participated the meeting and presented the ECRobot project and its activities. The partners from BU, CASIA, SJTU and YSU made the presentations on their research interests and capacity. The SJTU demonstrated the various robots they had developed and described the current progress and their linkage with the RABOT project. The BU team visited CASIA and YSU, delivered seminars, and conducted some training and joint research programmes. The RABOT project coordinator also attended the ECRobot project kick-off meeting in Changchun during 7-8 January 2013 upon the invitation, and delivered a talk on the RABOT project.

During the project period, the project partners organised the following invited sessions with the most papers contributed by the RABOT partners: 1) Invited session at the International Conference on Advanced Mechatronic Systems in 2013 in Luo Yang, China (Session Chair: Prof L. Vladareanu and Prof H. Yu; Eight papers co-authored by the project team were presented); 2) Invited session (http://www.easychair.org/smart-program/CONTROL2014/index.html) at UKACC (United Kingdom Automatic Control Council) International Conference on Control (CONTROL 9-11 July 2014) (Session Chair: Prof L. Vladareanu and Prof H. Yu; Eight papers with five contributed from the project partners were presented); 3) Invited session at the International Conference on Advanced Mechatronic Systems in 2015 (Session Chair: Prof L. Vladareanu and Prof H. Yu; Five from the project were presented). The project team is planning another invited session (http://fusion-edu.eu/SKIMA2016/special-session/) at SKIMA 2016 in December 2016 to sustain the collaboration developed during the funding period.

The RABOT project team has made the following four patents (one in EU and three in China) based on the work developed during the project period: 1) “Method and device for dynamic control of the hopping robots motion using semi-active damping”, The patent registration number OSIM RO A/2014 00577, OSIM (Romanian Patent Office), 30/04/2015, Authors: Luige Vladareanu, Shuang Cang, Hongnian Yu, Radu Munteanu, Victor Vladareanu, Hongbo Wang, Bruja Adrian, Xiaoyun Wang , Jinjin Liu; 2) “Hybrid leg-wheel four leg robots”, China patent office( CN 201510021471), 06/01/2015, Authors: Hongbo Wang, Hongnian Yu, Xiaojie Wang, Xiaoyun Wang, Luige Vladareanu, Zengguan Hou, Adrian Bruja etc; 3) A 3-DOF haptic interactive system and haptic interface, 26/11/2015, Gui-bin Bian, Zeng-guang Hou, Jianlong Hao, Xiao-liang Xie et.al China Patent No. CN105280080A, Application No.: 201510837411.0; and 4) A variable impedance and event-based haptic control method, 16/03/2015, Authors: Xiao-liang Xie, Zeng-guang Hou, Jianlong Hao, Gui-bin Bian, et.al China Patent, Application No.: 201610150621.7.

In addition, based on the work developed from the project, the project team won the following awards (http://fusion-edu.eu/RABOT/?page_id=156) in 2015: a) International Exposition Geneva award, for invention (The Haptic Robot Control on Uneven Terrain and Uncertain Environment ), Geneva, Switzerland, 17 April 2015; b) China Association of Inventors (CAI) award– Prize of China Delegation of the Exhibition in recognition of the outstanding performance and idea demonstrated by the invention, for invention (The Haptic Robot Control on Uneven Terrain and Uncertain Environment), the 43rd International Exhibition of inventions, New Techniques and Products, in Geneva, 19 April 2015; c) European France Invention Award ; d) Romania State Office for Inventions and Trademarks – Special Award, for invention (The Haptic Robot Control on Uneven Terrain and Uncertain Environment), the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva; e) Excellent Award for Scientific Research by Romanian Academy.

The project consortium has received the following funding (http://fusion-edu.eu/RABOT/?page_id=38) to further expand and sustain the collaboration and research: 1) VIPRO project no. 009/2014 for 2014-2017, financed by the Romanian Scientific Research Agency (ANCS), Partnerships Program in priority fields, PN-II-PT-PCCA-2013-4, ID2009 (RA_IMSAR); 2) Mechanism Design of Rescue Robots for Nuclear power plant emergency relief, China 973 Programme (2013CB035501) (SJTU); 3) Urban Fire and Rescue Robots, China Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation programme (SJTU); 4) Adaptive Learning Control of a Cardiovascular Robot using Expert Surgeon Techniques, China NSF and UK Newton Funds from March 2016 to March 2018 (BU & CASIA); 5) China - Romania intelligent rehabilitation robot joint laboratory, China Science and Technology Programme from June 2016 – June 2019 (YSU & RA-IMSAR).

In 2016, the RABOT consortium has submitted a RISE application on ‘Smart robots for fire-fighting (SMOOTH)’ to respond the call of MSCA-RISE-2016: Research and Innovation Staff Exchange. The SMOOTH consortium partners are BU, RA-IMSAR, CASIA, SJTU, YSU, plus three new EU SME industry partners, S.C. STIMPEX S.A. CTEC TECHNOLOGIES SA, and Robotnik. The SMOOTH project (http://fusion-edu.eu/SMOOTH/) is the further development of the current RABOT project with focusing in addressing the technology challenges faced by the firefighting search and rescue tasks.

Further details about the team, outputs, events, project organisation and progress can be found on the RABOT project website at http://fusion-edu.eu/RABOT/ or by contacting the project coordinator Prof. Hongnian Yu.

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